It's only spring, but the smell of pigskin is in the air.
Spring training for the Longhorn football team begins April 29 at Payson High School. Practice sessions will be held from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday until May 9.
Longhorn coach Steve Saban is enthusiastically encouraging all prospective football players to participate in the sessions. Those who do not, he said, will be at a distinct disadvantage when preseason practices begin in August.
Saban promises the spring sessions will turn in rewarding practices that will help each athlete reach his playing potential.
In addition to spring practices, the gridders will be participating in several summer passing league tournaments.
The first is slated for June 7 on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe. Games will be played that day from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Also on the summer football agenda is weight training sessions to be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the old gym weight room. The sessions begin June 3 and continue until the first week of August.
Those who enroll and participate will receive a one-hour PE credit at PHS.
Call Saban at 474-2233 for more information.
On to California
Payson High School long-distance running stars Whitney Hardt and Leighann Haynes have received invitations to participate in the prestigious Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational Track and Field meet April 13.
Hardt will participate in the meet; Haynes declined.
The meet is considered by many to be one of the top-three high school invitationals in the nation.
Although most athletes choose to participate in just one event because the competition is so fierce, Hardt is leaning toward running in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.
The only other PHS athlete who has competed at Arcadia is former shot-put and discus sensation Julie Gunzel.
Last week, Payson High sophomore Billy Bob Hoyt took his golf act to the Tucson Silverbell Golf Course where he participated in the Spring Classic Tournament.
In the boys championship division, Hoyt had a rough first day, finishing with a four-over-par 76.
On the second day, Hoyt came roaring back with a 70 to finish fifth in a field that included some of the best teenage golfers in the state.
The Spring Classic is the first of four major Arizona tournaments Hoyt must compete in to qualify for the Arizona Junior State team.